Monday, November 17, 2008

How Smoking Affects Women

Despite the repetitive warnings against the ill effects of smoking, there would always be new smokers joining the bandwagon annually, contributing further to our ever-worsening pollution and to the steadily increasing death rate of people directly and/or indirectly affected by this nasty habit. The common denominator between smoking and a natural calamity is their inherent trait to affect both genders regardless of age, location, and/or status. No one is spared. There is virtually no difference between the medical complications that could arise from smoking for both men and women. Both of them are equally susceptible to a melange of cancers, namely in the following areas; bladder, kidneys, pancreas, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, mouth, and the lungs. Apart from all these, they are also prone to varied respiratory diseases, which have become increasingly more common at present. But for women, the effects could have some forms of variations due to their biological difference in terms of structure from men. There are researches suggesting that women are more prone to nicotine addiction than men. Aside from this, they also have a slower metabolism of the said harmful substance. Thus, women who smoke are in danger of contracting illnesses borne of smoking. But of them all, post-menopausal women and those taking birth control pills have the highest risk of getting down with life-threatening ailments.

Below are the terrible effects smoking has on women's health:

* Women smokers who use oral contraceptives have a 10 percent higher risk of succumbing to heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. The risk is higher for those who are more than 35 years of age and is is even more potent for those who are 45.

* Smoking raises the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, prenatal and infant deaths, learning disorders, troublesome behavior, and attention disorders.

* For pregnant women, smoking not only endangers their lives, but also that of their unborn babies. It has been proven that women smoking during their pregnancy are more susceptible to preterm delivery, premature rupture of membranes, placenta previa, miscarriage, neonatal death, and low birth weight.

* Women smokers are more likely to be at risk of having decreased fertility.

* Secondary amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) and irregular menstruation are more common among women smokers. Aside from these, they are also more likely to suffer from peculiar vaginal discharge and bleeding.

* It has been found out that women who smoke do not only experience interruptions with their menstrual cycle, but they are also more likely to enter menopause earlier than those who do not smoke.

* It has been confirmed that smoking cigarettes among women increases their chances of contracting osteoporosis. Originally, smoking is considered as a contributory factor to the development of osteoporosis, which is a decrease in bone density that could strike both genders. However, it is more common among women since they are the ones who conceive babies.

* Breast cancer only comes in at second place in terms of the number one cause of death for women. Lung cancer takes the top spot, and its primary cause is smoking.

* Apart from the above-mentioned illnesses, smoking ups the chances of women in contracting periodontal diseases, teeth staining, bad breath, tooth loss, and pronounced facial wrinkling.

* Women smokers are at much higher risk of having vulvar and cervical cancers.

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Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

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